Skip to main content


Black firefighter follows in the footsteps of his father

Dekalb Walcott III and Dekalb Walcott Jr. (Photo courtesy of StoryCorps)

For more than three decades Dekalb Walcott Jr was one of the few African Americans in the Chicago Fire Department.

His son, Dekalb Walcott III, always dreamed of following in his footsteps.

"A lot of young black people didn’t really get the pleasure of growing up with a father," Dekalb Walcott III said. "You know, I’m from Chicago where we had the Bulls back in the ’90s and Michael Jordan was famous. 

"Everybody wanted to be like Mike, but for me, myself, I wanted Dekalb Walcott Jr. — that was my Michael Jordan.”

To hear more about their family history and the importance of father figures in the black community, click on the audio above.

Meredith Zielke is a WBEZ producer. 

Get the WBEZ App

Download the best live and on-demand public radio experience. Find out more.